Baby milestones are busting out all over

Published 4:35 pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster

The scene: A doctor’s office.

The players: An anxious mother, a reassuring nurse, and two indifferent 12-month-old girls.

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Nurse: We’re going to go over the things babies probably do at this age. Do they pretend to use objects?

Mother: Should they pretend to use objects?

Nurse: We prefer probably over should.

Mother: I never met a well-meaning probably I couldn’t turn into a should to beat myself with.

Nurse: We’re just talking about things like holding a phone up to their ear.

Mother: Why would I give one of those small people my expensive phone?

Nurse: A toy phone.

Mother: They have a toy phone, but they point it at the TV like a remote control.

Nurse: How about a brush to their hair?

Mother: I gave them my old Snoopy hairbrush. They hold it up to their ears like it’s a phone.

Nurse: Do they say any words?

Mother: Besides Mama and Dada? Clara says wow.

Nurse: What?

Mother: Wow. Like she’s seen an iceberg or a big sale at Macy’s.

Nurse: Wow.

Mother: Exactly.

Nurse: Do they recognize their names?

Mother: I think so. They definitely recognize the music to “The Young and The Restless.”

Nurse: So they watch television.

Mother: Is that a question, a statement or are you telling me I’m not on the short list for mother of the year?

Nurse: Are they walking?

Mother: Can I substitute one milestone for another? Like coleslaw for a side salad?

Nurse: Uhhh …

Mother: Because Gertie walks, but Clara climbs. She climbs the coffee table.

Nurse: Well that’s a milestone!

Mother: Yeah, a milestone she’s going to fall off of and break her neck.

Nurse: So what are you doing about that?

Mother: I gave the coffee table to Goodwill.

Nurse: Does she know what “no” means?

Mother: Sure. “No” means Mommy is hilarious.

Nurse: Do they seem to figure things out for themselves?

Mother: Gertie figured out how to blow a whistle. Then she blew it again and again and again. Next I’m hoping she figures out how not to blow a whistle. Clara figured out how to set the DVR to record.

Nurse: Really?

Mother: All I know is that “Walker, Texas Ranger” keeps showing up in my saved programs and Clara’s the one who gets caught pushing the buttons.

Nurse: Do you tell her no?

Mother: I tell her she should have better taste.

Nurse: OK. Moving on. Do they feed themselves finger food?

Mother: Only the foods they like. Everything else they feed to my purse.

Nurse: Your purse?

Mother: It hangs next to the high chairs. Well, it did until the other day when I discovered I was paying for my groceries with peas and carrots.

Nurse: You’ve got a couple of live ones, don’t you?

Mother: Can I put my head down for a little while? I mean, yes, I do. Very live.

Nurse: Do they point to things?

Mother: I worry about that one. I’m cheering for them when they point, but in a few years I’m going to tell them it’s not polite to point. Are you sure that one should be on the list?

Nurse: Probably.

Mother: You mean maybe it shouldn’t?

Nurse: No, probably, not should.

Mother: I’m not sure what we’re talking about anymore.

Nurse: Just a couple more questions.

Mother: That paper blanket looks so comfy.

Nurse: Do they play simple games?

Mother: Absolutely. They play smack me on the head with the Snoopy brush they think is a phone, which I’m sure is the influence of “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Nurse: How about something more conventional like rolling a ball back and forth?

Mother: I’ve tried that, but when I roll a ball to them they refuse to roll it back.

Nurse: A little confused, then?

Mother: No, just greedy.

Nurse: Let’s wrap this up. Do you have any concerns about Gertie and Clara?

Mother: Should I? I mean, probably. Probably not. I’m not sure. Shouldn’t I probably be sure?

Nurse: Probably not.

Mother: That’s a relief. Do you think we could dim those lights for a few minutes?


Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at, and her blog is at